IoT Product Hacking & How to Prevent It

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the products used by people to connect to the internet. IoTs allow for the collection and sending of data as well. Due to the surge in technological developments in the past decade, the protection of data has become more difficult. Hackers trying to access that data have increased. However, it’s not the only thing that they target—the products themselves are also at risk.

The Importance of Protecting IoT Products

Cybersecurity and data privacy measures evolved over time alongside IoT products. The dangers of those products getting hacked can do more harm than just the digital plane. While retrieving sensitive information is the most common form of hacking, taking control of elevators, hospital equipment, automotive electrical systems, airplanes, and more can be life-threatening.

A large part of daily life revolves around some kind of technology, which makes everyone susceptible to hacking. As an owner or creator of IoTs, knowing how to protect those products is important.

IoT Stacks

An IoT stack contains IoT products, their software, and the standards by which they’re produced. These stacks are where security measures can be implemented to prevent hacking. Often, software updates protect IoTs—the first line of defense. Sometimes that isn’t enough, so companies need to re-evaluate their system. The most important types of security to be protected are cybersecurity and product tampering.

  • Cybersecurity

Management of security under this type should be consistent throughout the stack. If any areas are neglected, viruses, trojans, or other tools can be used to infiltrate the system. Encryption, authentication, and authorization processes are helpful in preventing a cyber attack.

  • Product Tampering

Even with the best security measures in place, hacking can still occur through the IoT product itself. For example, plugging up a phone into a public port could give a hacker access to the information on that phone. On the other hand, it might potentially trigger the installation of a program that tracks where someone lives, their purchases, or personal social media information.

Things to Consider

In order to combat the risks associated with IoTs and data security, ask these questions:

  1. Where might someone gain access to the device?
  2. How much damage could they do?
  3. What systems may become affected if security is breached?
  4. Are there any obvious areas with the device that make it susceptible to a cyber attack?

Can IoTs Be Completely Protected?

The answer is no. As technology evolves, there will be weaknesses hackers can exploit. Preventative action during the creation and maintenance of IoTs is the best way to prepare for a cyber attack. This doesn’t mean all systems are vulnerable to attacks, just that with technological advances come unforeseen situations. The technology industry improves by identifying weaknesses. Breaches of security can reveal those weaknesses but adding several layers of protection could determine what information (if any) is stolen.

Work with the production team to analyze every element of the IoT stack for holes. This is where people called white hats, or legal hackers who are paid to find weaknesses in a system can be extremely useful.